Crossing the Streams [PRAXIS]

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The pace and scale of the chaotic changes we are living through today is bewildering. Terrifyingly dystopian, while brimming with potential for a better world out of all the madness. Cognitive dissonance and existential angst have become near inescapable aspects of conscious life. It’s no wonder that so many people chose to remain asleep for so long. Sleep is no longer an option though. The climate has collapsed. The fascists are in charge. The sky is falling in. We are out of time.

I have been an avid spectator and supporter of alternative, independent media for most of my adult life. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, the UK’s alt media scene was then a vibrant sub culture. A smattering of local and national freesheets and websites offered windows out of the saccharin neo-liberal myopia, speaking truth to a generation of otherwise silent witnesses. I would occasionally engage in memery, art, video and music, but mostly I was just a spectator back then.

The history of the struggle for a more truthful, independent media goes way back, to well before they tried to brand it ‘fake news’. It predates Iraq, Hillsborough and Orgreave, Murdoch, Bernays and Machiavelli. Like most controversial struggles, it’s not on the prescribed curriculum but thanks to the tireless work of many digital activists and independent publishers, it is now available online…if you know what to look for.

First the internet, then smartphones with cameras and now livestreaming have been massive gamechangers in this aspect of the struggle. Today, anybody who is privileged enough to have a smartphone and an internet connection can become a source in realtime, almost anywhere. Like agent Smith from the matrix, (but hopefully with somewhat better intentions and outcomes).

The first ever TV shows were broadcast live. Videotape wasn’t invented until the late fifties, and didn’t become really affordable until the seventies. Modern livestreaming technology has been around since the late nineties. With a few notable exceptions, the ability to broadcast live video had been limited almost exclusively to corporate media until fairly recently.

By 2011, most people had livestreaming technology in their pocket. The freeflow of uncensored information and ideas online had already monumentally shifted our perceptions of ourselves and each other. The Occupy movement was arguably the first global movement which was able to see each other in realtime, uncensored, worldwide.

There has since been a massive groundswell in grassroots-led, social media powered citizen journalism, reporting on injustices being suffered all over the world, from Palestine to Syria, from Standing Rock to Preston New Road. Arguably, this groundswell is what led to the bizzare, post truth spectacle of ‘mainstream’ corporate media denouncing social media as #FakeNews…

2017 is the year that the livestreaming subculture finally started to go mainstream in the UK. Facebook launched their streaming feature in January this year, making the technology accessible to their 2 billion users. Twitch.tv, the pre-eminent videogame streaming service added an ‘IRL’ (In Real Life) streaming functionality in March.

Now, it seems that some sections of the 1%’s corporate media are finally changing too. Empowered by social media, the massive groundswell in grassroots-led citizen journalism is apparently forcing them to.

In July this year, during the BBC’s gender pay gap scandal, Sky News political correspondent, Lewis Goodall (who is a self declared comprehensive school boy), acknowledged that their whole profession’s class gap is ‘worse’.* He said: “And it’s quite unfair to single out the BBC in this regard anyway, I’m sure the pattern of private school dominance is repeated across our industry: at Sky, ITV and across Fleet Street“.

In August, Channel 4’s Jon Snow used his McTaggart lecture to tell his colleagues that they have become too far removed from ordinary people. He said that the media was “comfortably with the elite, with little awareness, contact or connection with those not of the elite” and that Grenfell had shown this lack of connection was “dangerous”.

Snow was acknowledging the media’s responsibility for the tragedy, which was so eloquently expressed by Ishmail Blagrove in the video that went viral of him telling sky news.

Last week, the BBC’s Nick Robinson whined that “guerrilla war” is being waged on the BBC. As Thomas Barlow of Real Media and the Media Fund points out, “We know why: Robinson’s not as afraid of the independent media as he is of the Murdoch press, and he shares more political and personal affinity with the tabloid press. It’s not just that he’s a Conservative, it’s that the BBC’s news agenda is largely set by the tabloid press.

Despite the Nick Robinsons of this world, there have been acknowledgements in word and we’re slowly starting to see them in deed from factions within the ‘mainstream’ media. Channel 4, ITV, Sky, the independent, the grauniad, all seem to be accepting that they need to shape up. Social media and citizen journalism are here to stay. People are sick of corporate bullshit and they have an alternative now. Who’s going to pay to be lied to when you can access truthful, firsthand information for free? Even the Daily Fail and S*n have started to report slightly more accurately (online, if not in print).

Crossing The Streams

It is no longer unusual for corporate media to suddenly appear on independent livestreams hurriedly setting up their cameras and asking people for interviews. Yesterday, I was watching the Occupy News Network streams from the last few days’ #StopHS2 action at Colne Valley. On the last stream, 24 hours into a seven person lock-on, a journalist from ITV news turned up just as the protectors were starting to be removed. He explains that ITV are planning to do a live report that evening. Dan, the livestreamer laughed, “yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m already live…

The game is changing. Livestreaming technology (and internet access generally) are levelling the battlefields for truth and justice. It is a reason to be hopeful, but we must not become complacent.

The independence referendum in Catalonia is one of the most striking recent example of how most corporate print and broadcast media are still trying to distort people’s perceptions of reality.

This photo was published with the caption: “Firemen try to hold a group of people in front of Spanish Guardia Civil officers outside a polling station in San Julia de Ramis CREDIT: LUIS GENE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

CatalonianFiremen.png

The firefighters were actually defending the voters from riot police who were attacking them with batons. (Again, even the S*n newspaper acknowledged the reality of the situation).

I share Craig Murray’s suspicion that “were it not for social media, UK mainstream media would have told us very little at all. This is an object lesson in how the mainstream media still seek to continue to push fake news on us in the age of citizen journalism. They no longer have a monopoly on the flow of raw information; what they can do is to attempt to distort perceptions of what people are seeing.

Corporate media had near exclusive access to livestreaming technology when it first appeared. Today, the technology has been democratised and corporate media are playing catch up with it.

Whether this results in a more or less truthful account of our objective reality is up to us. There are at least 7 billion different ways of seeing the world. None of us have a monopoly on truth, all of us do. We don’t have to be passive, silent spectators, consuming the corrupt corporate culture which guards the status quo anymore. We can all be active, outspoken participants, creating meaningful change in our daily lives and sharing the effort with each other. In realtime.

The culture we are finally outgrowing has historically thrived on division and conflict. It is designed to pit all struggles against each other, in it’s preferred language: Violence.

We can keep getting drawn into the dominant culture’s outdated, ultrapolarised, dogmatic and combative worldview, or we can keep tuning in to real life and getting on with helping to build the other world that we all know is possible.

Together.

—End Rant—

* It’s a shame that Lewis hung this article on the gender paygap headline, because the class gap is equally deleterious to our cultural diversity. ‘The gap’ is the fulcrum of intersectionality, not the identities of all those disenfranchised by the gap. The headline: ‘class gap is worse’ risks setting feminists against class warriors, which is unhelpful. Reading beyond the headline though, it is apparent that the author is sincere in their conviction and makes some excellent points.

CROSSINGTHESTREAMS

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Tell Cuadrilla to #FrackOff…

Against the will of the people, fracking monsters Cuadrilla have started drilling in Lancashire. Reclaim The Power made this statement regarding the odious corporation’s move.

Why not get in touch to gently remind Cuadrilla that #WeSaidNo and still, #WeSayNo!

Here’s their contact details:

cuadrillasdeets2

Tina-Louise graciously called off the last blockade after winning her court case just before Christmas last year.

If they don’t #FrackOff once and for all, we’re going to

#BankruptCuadrilla!

That is all.

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KEEP CALM AND FIGHT CENSORSHIP

Hello internet.

This will hopefully be my last update on the digital censorship mullarkey for a while. Investigating #GhostBanning has distracted me and taken up a lot of time that should have been better spent getting on with making and doing new stuff and things.

First of all I want to say massive thanks to all the randoms who got in touch to feedback and discuss my previous #GhostBan investigations and conclusions and to help distribute my other doings. In particular, thanks to the nice person who contributed £2  yesterday – very much appreciated. 🙂

Secondly, I want to overemphasise the usefulness of just Keeping Calm. It’s easier to focus if you’re calm. This neo-McCarthyist chilling effect only works as long as the majority of people are too scared to speak out, or too angry to be understood.

I was bouncing between angry and despondent about the situation for months before I properly stepped back from it all and took time to calm down, focus and reflect. If everybody speaking out is confused and self censoring or angrily ranting and raving, it makes the conversation that much harder to have. We need cool heads to prevail if we are to overcome.

GCHQ are bragging about the army of ‘PREVENT’ snoopers they’ve trained to monitor UK society, but then they would brag about it wouldn’t they? They’re projecting a terrifying, all powerful Orwellian superstate. Perhaps it’s bullshit, to frighten those of us with a conscious conscience into shutting up? Perhaps it’s all true and the dream of a free future is actually lost already…*

Regardless, nobody should be bullied into self-censorship or freaked out to the point that they can’t articulate themselves. Whether the snooper army reports are true or not, the fact that they’re publicly gloating about the omnipotence of their (public) surveillance programs and that they’re using this program to vilify peaceful activists; anti-capitalists and anti-frackers is an assault on our capacity for critical thought and freedom of self expression.

But as Hate and Fear are contagious, so are Love and Courage!

Don’t buy into the SHOCK! PANIC! HYSTERIA! 

I’m of the opinion that the ‘fedbook security’ story is/was almost certainly ‘viral misinformation’ – smoke and mirrors to freak everybody out and thereby further divide us online and out there in the ‘real’ world…

Thanks to Jay Gonzo from Fucking, Austria for sharing this neat summary of how the story spread.

facebook-sec fedbooksecurity

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#GhostBanning on the other hand is definitely a thing though…

Since my last report, I have figured out a few more useful things about #GhostBanning and digital censorship which should have been obvious to me sooner really.

Continue reading KEEP CALM AND FIGHT CENSORSHIP

Seize The Memes of Production!

In the current Orwellian, TrumpistaniPost-BREXIT, Post-Truth, Post-Satire, Post-Apocalyptic socio-political cultural landscape, it is vital right now that we netizens of all backgrounds and persuasions engage in rational, truthful discussion with each other – as difficult as this can often be.

Humanity has been gifted the most awesome communications tool ever created, but thus far we have been using it mostly to share pictures of cats and other funny but pointless memes…

meme

/miːm/

noun

noun: meme; plural noun: memes
  1. 1.
    an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.
  2. 2.
    an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.

Memes (especially funny ones) are powerful.

The internet offered us all the ability to express ourselves with unprecedented nuance, which we were woefully underprepared for. This new technology has revealed an overwhelming plethora of beliefs, ideas and perspectives, challenging everything we thought we knew about the human condition.

Hence cat pics, trolls, meme wars and now, ‘Fake News’…the latest phase of the establishment resisting our rising consciousness.

The difficult conversations which need to happen right now are being made yet more difficult by the phenomenon of ‘ideological echo chambers’. Harmonious group of people developing tunnel vision by virtue of social media marketing algorithms. filterbubbles

Overall awareness suffers when people have a narrow information base. The longer we spend in our safe little bubbles reinforcing our beliefs about the nature of reality, the harder the conversations which we urgently need to have outside those bubbles become; the more entrenched and dogmatic we become in our beliefs and the more we resist engaging in anything but vitriolic expressions of fear and hatred towards those who would dare disagree with us.

As Adam Curtis puts it, people have come to thinking that the point of it all is to simply agree or disagree with things.  So, we either hide in our ‘safe spaces’, or argue with people who disagree with us, within prescribed parameters of a controlled debate.

Constantly.

Meanwhile, multiple apocalyptic, extinction level crises are still converging.

***If you’d rather keep your head in the sand, stop reading now***

 

Continue reading Seize The Memes of Production!

Technical [List of Freeware for Digital Creatives]

UPDATED 20.5.17

For anybody that’s interested in what kit I’m using, or who just wants to find FREE tools to express themselves with.

I am immeasurably grateful to all the open source, freeware developers and communities for providing all the FREE tools I use.

Much respect to you all.

These days, I’m almost exclusively working on Linux Ubuntu.

Graphics

pixler

pixler is a FREE basic image editor that runs from your browser (no need to install).

 

mon

 

I’m mostly using GIMP at the moment.

GIMP is a much more powerful, FREE open source image editor.

 

1001 free fonts is an excellent resource, with over 30, 000 FREE custom fonts.
1001-free-fonts

Giphy is another cool tool which runs from your browser. I’ve just started using it to learn how to make .gifs (animated memes) . Which is much fun.

giphylogo

Video

I’m currently using kdenlive – which is FREE open source video editing software.

kdenlive

Previously, I was using a FREE month’s trial of camtasia, sadly that expired. Camtasia is excellent software, but unfortunately quite expensive to buy.

For sourcing, I refer mostly to wikimedia, the Prelinger archives, creative commons and of course, youtube.

I use the FREE 4k video downloader and YTD Video Downloader to rip video.

4kdownload

Sound/Music

I’ve mostly been using an ancient, FREE trial of Cubase SX since 2003, with a bunch of FREE open source plugs and softsynths. (should update really, recommendations welcome)!

I’m particularly fond of greenoaks’ FREE Crystal softsynth, which is awesome.

I like cooledit pro for any extreme finetuning/sound sculpture/design.

I know how to run logic, but I don’t like it very much.

For voice synthesis, I’ve been using from text to speech , which is a FREE service which runs from your browser. It creates mp3s which don’t sound too lovely, but are workable once beefed up a bit.

Livestreaming Video

I occasionally stream to my bambuser channel using the giffgaff network.
bambuser

£20 buys you one month of unlimited data on a giffgaff ‘pay as you go’ sim.

giffgaff offers FREE calls and texts to other giffgaff phones, so long as you top up once every three months.
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  • ALL Ann Narkeh’s doings are created and offered to the interwebz for FREE!
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